Superchunk I Hate Music

Superchunk I Hate Music
7
"I hate music/what is it worth?" sings Mac McCaughan on Superchunk's latest full-length. The line, a seemingly snide dismissal on a track that still name-checks a relatively obscure Jamaican-Canadian reggae artist ("Me & You & Jackie Mittoo"), is actually meant as a sad lament for a lost friend. That the North Carolina unit plucked it as their album title shows that age hasn't blunted their self-aware wit. This is still the band that kicked off their career with tongue-in-cheek anthem "Slack Motherfucker." Coming just three years since their triumphant 2010 return to the spotlight, I Hate Music confirms that Superchunk are indeed back in the saddle after a decade of inactivity. Their tenth full-length lacks some of the visceral punch of Majesty Shredding — mid-tempo rockers rule the roost — but lyrically the band are delving into darker territory. The previously mentioned "Me & You & Jackie Mittoo" finds McCaughan in a nihilistic headspace following the death of a loved one, while hardcore number "Staying Home" touches upon agoraphobic depression, even while proving that no matter how hard Superchunk try, they can't suppress their innate knack for melody. Tracks like "Void" and "Breaking Down" further hint at some kind of tragedy or crisis of faith befalling at least one of the band's members. Whatever it was, it seems to have fuelled the creative juices. Still, the album's arrangements are the least complex they've been since Superchunk's early days, making these 11 tracks less immediately sticky than previous efforts. A bit more teeth would have made this one for the ages. Instead, we've got just another good Superchunk record, but that's never a bad thing. (Merge)